Uniqlo UK apologises for customer service chaos in Covid crisis

Credit offers

The fashion retailer Uniqlo has apologised after its online operation went into meltdown leaving frustrated customers waiting months for refunds for failed orders.

Loyal customers who have used the Japanese brand for years have described being left in tears after trying to get refunds for missing Christmas presents and partial orders, sent in some cases to completely the wrong address.

A failure to issue return labels, coupled with the firm’s “useless” chatbots, has only made matters worse, they say.

Uniqlo’s inability to process refunds for items returned as far back as October has left some consumer as much as £600 out of pocket.

Uniqlo has apologised and blamed the poor service on “operational difficulties” associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarah Isle contacted the Guardian after spending two months trying to get £284 refund from the company for a shirt that failed to arrive, and for items that she had returned in November.

Despite calling the company 13 times, and hearing a variety of excuses as to why she had not been refunded, she gave up and filed a claim with PayPal instead.

“I honestly think Uniqlo’s recent customer service is the worst I have ever experienced, and the case was never resolved. I think I’d still be waiting for my money if I hadn’t got PayPal involved,” she says.

Apply for a credit card

Lorna O’Reilly spent two months trying to get a £99 refund after Uniqlo sent her coat order to an entirely unrelated address in Glasgow rather than her Liverpool home.

“I still have no idea how this happened as I have no connection to the Glasgow address, but neither Uniqlo nor its parcels firm Hermes would accept that mistake had been made. Only by refusing to give up did I eventually get my money back. What’s happened to Uniqlo? The service I received was shockingly bad,” she says.

  From Cardiff shops to Hermes hubs, the UK has its Covid Black Friday

Senior UK staff at the brand that started life in Japan in 1949 and normally operates more than 1,000 stores worldwide, would do well not to read the company’s Trustpilot page where 84% of reviews are “bad”.

There, a poster called Dan, summed up customers’ feedback.

“I have used Uniqlo for years but customer service is now so poor I won’t use them again. Returned an item in October which they lost and they have still not refunded me. No one answers the phone, and emails take up to a week to respond, and then just asks for the same information again,” he wrote.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

A Uniqlo spokesperson said the firm had experienced problems processing orders and refunds at its e-commerce warehouse over the Christmas period which had led to “an unprecedented increase in inquiries” to its customer services team.

“We took action to rectify the order delays as best we could, informing all customers whose items would not arrive in time for Christmas.

“Uniqlo has since begun putting procedures in place to ensure that this situation does not happen again in the future. We again apologise for the frustration and disappointment we caused and thank our customers for their ongoing support.”